An existing temporary restraining order on the deal ends just before midnight on Friday, but the FTC filed an emergency motion to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals asking for a “temporary pause” on Microsoft’s closing of the transaction.
Now the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has denied its request for emergency relief to stop Microsoft from closing the deal until the conclusion of the FTC’s appeal.
Microsoft welcomed the news on Friday. “We appreciate the Ninth Circuit’s swift response denying the FTC’s motion to further delay the deal,” said president Brad Smith in a statement issued to The Verge.
“This brings us another step closer to the finish line in this marathon of global regulatory reviews,” he added.
Microsoft can now close the deal after the current restraining order expires at 11:59pm PT on Friday.
However, it still needs to resolve issues in the UK. UK competition regulator the CMA, Microsoft and Activision Blizzard announced on Tuesday that they’d paused legal proceedings with a view to reaching an out of court agreement on the merger, after the Xbox firm won its case against the FTC.
Microsoft wants to complete the Activision Blizzard transaction before the current merger agreement expires on July 18, after which Activision Blizzard could walk away with a $3 billion termination fee if an extension isn’t agreed.